Games, ‘Rock’ on roll

Col TriStar, Carsey-Werner get syndie gold

Columbia TriStar’s syndie gameshow block, “The Dating/Newlywed Hour,” is good to go for a second season in nine of the top 10 markets, the distributor confirmed Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Carsey-Werner Distribution unveiled another major station group deal, this time with Sinclair Broadcast Group, for its hot off-network property “3rd Rock From the Sun.”

New York remains the last crucial gap in Columbia TriStar Television Distribution’s station lineup for “Dating/Newlywed,” but the distributor is understood to be close to a deal with an outlet in the nation’s largest TV market. In Los Angeles, “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game” will move in September from Fox-owned KTTV to indie KCAL, which will give the daytime block a second repeat run in late fringe.

CTTD coup

The resurrection of “The Dating/Newlywed Hour” for a second season was seen as a coup for CTTD. The firstrun gameshows were not picked up for year two by some key incumbent stations after a low-rated first season, but CTTD president Barry Thurston vowed to salvage the block by bringing in new hosts (gameshow vets Chuck Woolery and Bob Eubanks) and making other creative changes.

To date, CTTD has cleared the revamped “Dating/Newlywed” block on 160 stations, many of them new to the lineup this fall, including WCIU Chicago (Daily Variety, July 14), CBS O&O WWJ Detroit, CBS affil KTVT Dallas and NBC affil KCRA Sacramento.

On the off-network front, Carsey-Werner Distribution’s sale of “3rd Rock” to 15 outlets in the Sinclair Broadcast Group comes on the heels of last month’s unprecedented sale of the show to the 22 Fox O&Os. With Sinclair stations in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indianapolis and Cincinnati signing on, “3rd Rock” is now set for a fall 1999 off-net debut in 30 of the top 50 markets.

Joe Zaleski, president of Carsey-Werner Distribution, wouldn’t comment on financial terms of the deal, but said the hit NBC sitcom is on track to generate upwards of $2.8 million per episode in its first syndication cycle.

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